Steve Rubel on The Rise of The Corporate Transmedia Storyteller

written by: Richard Kastelein

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Steve Rubel (SVP, Director of Insights for Edelman Digital) creates a scenario of the future with the “The Rise of the Corporate Transmedia Storyteller” utilizing the following niblet from Google CEO, Eric Schmidt:

“Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.”

Augmented with:

There's both a positive and negative side to this story. In fact it has spawned a divergent debate of ideas.

Nicholas Carr in his book The Shallows argues that the digital deluge is rewiring our brains for less depth. NYU professor Clay Shirky, meanwhile, says that as more of us become content creators rather than consumers, it's ushering in a new age of enlightenment."

And this brilliantly sets the scene of Rubel's case for his anticipated evolution of the Transmedia Storyteller. Starting with a bang, the article fizzles quite rapidly without really solving the latter end of the problem/solution scenario effectively - whether that be to overzealous editors chopping down the article due to space or just leaving a space for more discussion via commenting. Bit dissappointed with page two of the article - this subject needs much more analysis and treatment. But let's move on...

Rubel writes:

    The new law of digital relativity (e.g., the relationship between time and space) means the end of scarcity. This was the currency that, for years, powered marketing budgets, filled media coffers and drove the information economy. Now that scarcity is gone, however, we will need to adopt a new set of skills.

So then, how can companies evolve in a space they once pioneered and impact a crowded digital space? Make way for the Transmedia Storyteller. Rubel's key points:

  1.     There’s art and there’s junk. Audiences want art.
  2.     To stand out today it’s critical that businesses create content. Activating your cadre of internal subject matter experts is the surest path to visibility.
  3.     The reality is, however, that organizations need to do more than just unleash their subject matter experts en masse. They need to activate them in multiple channels at once and equip them in how to create a compelling narrative.
  4.     Transmedia storytelling is the future of marketing. And those who can span across formats and share their expertise will stand out in an age of Digital Relativity.

Graph from Rubber Republic


Interesting to note, I did see Redbull at MIPCOM 2010 in Cannes, France and - yes - they are creating their own TV formats with content as consumable as anything on MTV. Their demo of 39 days competiton demo was brilliant!

Red Bull spent $50 million on ads in 2009, down nearly 30 percent from the $70 million it spent in 2008, according to Nielsen. For the first six months of 2010, it spent $22 million, per Nielsen. It seems to be shifting from outsourcing to agencies and traditional advertising to developing more transmedia and social TV formats in-house. There are few top agencies that are even touching social tv and transmedia that brands such as Red Bull can work with.

Red Bull is an adaptation of the Thai energy drink Krating Daeng, which translates as "Red Bull" and based on market share, it is the most popular energy drink in the world.  Red Bull, which is based in Austria, reported revenue of $4.4 billion in 2009.

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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